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shame, as conscience or humanity, in the open face of the whole world? to receive a commission for the king and parliament, to murder (as I said) the one, and destroy no less impudently the other? to fight against monarchy when he declared for it, and declare against it when he contrived for it in his own person? to abase perfidiously and supplant ingratefully his own general + first, and afterwards most of those officers, who, with the loss of their honour, and hazard of their fouls, had lifted him up to the top of his unreasonable ambitions ? to break his faith with all enemies and with all friends equally and to make no less frequent use of the most folemn perjuries, than the loofer fort of people do of customary oaths? to usurp thres kingdoms without any shadow of the least pretensions, and to govern them as unjustly as he got them? to set himself up as an idol (which we know, as St. Paul says, in itself is nothing), and make the very streets of London like the valley of Hinnon, by burning the bowels of men as a sacrifice to his Molochship? to seek to entail this usurpation upon his posterity, and with it an endless war upon the nation? aud laitly, by the severelt judgment of Almighty God, to die hardened, and mad, and unrepentant, with the curses of the present age, and the detestation of all to succeed?"
Though I had much more to say (for the life of man is so short, that it allows not time enough to speak against a tyrant); yet, because I had a mind to hear how my ifrange adversary would behave himself upon this subject, and to give even the devil (as they say) his right and fair play in a disputation, I stopped here, and expected (not without the fruilty of a little fear) that he should have broke into a violent passion in behalf of his favourite: but he on the contrary very calmly, and with the dove-like innocency of a serpent that was not yet warmed enough to sting, thus replied to me;
" It is not so much out of my affection to that person whom we discourse of (whose greatness is too solid to be shaken by the breath of an oratory), as for your own fake (honest countryman), whom I conceive to err, rather by mistake than out of malice, that I shall endeavour to reform your uncharitable and unjust opinion. And, in the first place, I must needs put you in mind of a sentence of the most ancient of the heathen divines, that you men are acquainted withal,
0'χ' όσιαν καλαμένοισιν επ' ανδράσιν ευχέλαάσθαι.
Upon the monuments of the dead. And the intention of the reproof there, is no les: proper for this subject ; for it is spoken to a person who was proud and infolent against those dead men, to whom he had been humble and obedient whilst they lived." " Your highness may please (said I) to add the verse that follows, as no less propor
for this subject:
Whom God's just doom and their own sins have sent
Already to their punishment. But I take this to be the rule in the case, that, when we fix any infamy upon deceased persons, it should not be done ont of hatred to the dead, but out of love and charity to the living that the curses, which only remain in men's thoughts, and dare not come forth against tyrants (because they are tyrants) whilst they are fo, may at least be for ever settled and engraven upon their memories, to deter all others from the like wickedness; which else, in the time of their foolish prosperity, the fattery of their own hearts, and of other men's tongues, would not suffer them to perceive. Ambition is fo subtile a tempter, and the corruption of human nature fo fusceptible of the temptation, that a man can hardly resist it, be he never so much forewarned of the evil consequences; much lefs if he find not only the concurrence of the present, but the approbation too of following ages, which have the liberty to judge more freely. The mischief of tyranny is too great, even in the shortest time that it can continue ; it is endiess and insupportable, if the example be to reign too; and if a Lambert must be in
+ Sir Thomas Fairfax,
vited to follow the feps of a Cromwell, as well by the voice of honour, as by the fight of power and riches. Though it may seem to some fantastically, yet was it wisely, done of the Syracusans, to implead with the forms of their ordinary justice, to condemn and destroy, even the statues of all their tyrants: if it were possible to cut them out of all history, and to extinguish their very names, I am of opinion that it ought to be done ; but, since they have left behind them too deep wounds to be ever closed up without a scar, at least let us set such a mark upon their memory, that men of the same wicked in. clinations may be no less affrighted with their lasting ignominy, than enticed by their momentary glories. And, that your highness inay perceive, that I speak not all this out of any private animosity against the person of the late protector, I afure you, upon my faith, that I bear no more hatred to his name, than I do to that of Marius or Sylla, who never did me, or any friend of mine, the least injury;" and with that, transported by a boly fury, I fell into this sudden rapture :
Curst be the man (what do I wish? as though
The wretch already were not fo;
And great, his countrey * to enslave;
Though at the rate of being worst;
A well-proportion'd man,
Till thunder ftrikes him from the sky;
A short and miserable reign !
Does the mischievous serpent rise !
He murders with his mortal frown ;
Or undermining tears,
The swarming dreams out, when we feep.
Docs here his early hell begin,
Lift up this rod against our land !
And brings worse plagues than Egypt knew.
Countrey.] This word, in the sense of patria, or as including in it the idea of a civil conftitution, is always spelt by Mr. Cowley, I observe, with an e before y;-countrey :-in the sense of ru, without an iz-country; and this diftin&ion, for the sake of perspicuity, may be worth preserving.-HURD.
What rivers stain'd with blood have been !
What sores deform'd the ulcerous state !
And made even of our sons a prey!
The reftless nation to torment !
The land, which every where they fill!
Come sink us rather in the sea.
Come God's sword rather than our own.
In all the bonds we ever bore,
Callid to this last extremity,
To try, if England can repent.
Methinks, at least, some prodigy,
Should terribly forewarn the earth,
As of good princes death, fo of a tyrant's birth.” Here the spirit of verse beginning a little to fail, I stopt: and his highness, smiling, faid
, " I was glad to see you engaged in the enclosure of metre ; for, if you had staid in the open plain of declaiming against the word tyrant, I must have had patience for half a dozen hours, till you had tired yourself as well as me. But pray, countryman, to avoid this fciomachy, or imaginary combat with words, let me know, Sir, what you mean by the name of tyrant, for I remember that, among your ancient authors, not only all kings, but even Jupiter himself (your juvans pater) is so termed; and perhaps, as it was used formerly in a good sense, so we shall find it, upon better confideration, to be still a good thing for the benefit and peace of mankind ; at least, it will appear whether your interpretation of it may be jutly applied to the person, who is now the subject of our discourse.”
“ I call him (said I) a tyrant, who either intrudes himself forcibly into the government of his fellow.citizens without any legal authority over them; or who, having a juft title to the government of a people, abuses it to the destruction or tormenting of them. So that all tyrants are at the same time ufurpers, either of the whole, or at Leat of a part, of that power which they assume to themselves; and no less are they to be accounted rebels, fince no man can ufurp authority over others
, but by rebelling againft them who had it before, or at least against those laws which were his superiors : and in all these senses, no history can afford us a more evident example of tyranny, or more out of all possibility of excuse or palliation, than that of the person whom you are pleased to defend; whether we consider his reiterated rebellions against all his
or his ufurpation of the supreme power to himself, or his tyranny in the exercise of it: and, if lawful princes have been esteemed tyrants, by not containing - themselves within the bounds of those laws which have been left them, as the sphere of
their authority, by their forefathers, what shall we say of that man, who, having by right no power at all in this nation, could not content himself with that which had to
tisfied the most ambitious of our princes ? nay, not with those vastly extended limits of sovereignty, which he (disdaining all that had been prescribed and observed before) was pleased (out of great modesty) to set to himself; not abstaining from rebellion and usurpation even against his own laws, as well as those of the nation?”
“ Hold, friend, (said his highness, pulling me by my arm) for I see your zeal is transporting you again ; whether the protector were a tyrant in the exorbitant exercise of his power, we shall fee anon ; it is requisite to examine, first, whether he were fo in the usurpation of it. And I say, that not only he, but no man else, ever was, or can be fo; and that for these reasons. First, because all power belongs only to God, who is the source and fountain of it, as kings are of all honours in their dominions. Princes are but his viceroys in the little provinces of this world ; and to some he gives their places for a few years, to some for their lives, and to others (upon ends or deserts best known to himself, or merely for his undisputable good pleasure) he bestows, as it were, leases upon them, and their posterity, for such a date of time as is prefixed in that patent of their destiny, which is not legible to you men below. Neither is it more unlawful for Oliver to succeed Charles in the kingdom of England, when God so dif. poses of it, than it had been for him to have succeeded the Lord Strafford in the lieutenancy of Ireland, if he had been appointed to it by the king then reigning. Men are in both the cases obliged to obey him whom they fee actually invested with the authority, by that sovereign from whom he ought to derive it, without difputing or examining the causes, either of the removal of the one, or the preferment of the other. Secondly, because all power is attained, either by the election and consent of the people (and that takes away your objection of forcible intrusion); or else by a conquest of them (and that gives such a legal authority as you mention to be wanting in the ufurpation of a tyrant); fo that either this title is right, and then there are no usurpers, or else it is a wrong one, and then there are none else but usurpers, if you examine the original pretences of the princes of the world. Thirdly, (which, quitting the dispute in general
, is a particular justification of his highness) the government of England was totally broken and dissolved, and extinguished by the confufions of a civil war; so that his highness could not be accused to have poftefied himself violently of the ancient building of the commonwealth, but to have prudently and peaceably built up a new one out of the ruins and ashes of the former; and he, who after a deplorable shipwreck, can with extraordinary industry gather together the dispersed and broken planks and pieces of it, and with no less wonderful art and felicity so rejoin them, as to make a new vessel more tight and beautiful than the old one, deserves, no doubt, to have the command of her (even as his highness had) by the desire of the seamen and passengers themselves. And do but consider, lastly, (fór l'omit a multitude of weighty things, that might be spoken upon this noble argument) do but confider seriously and impartially with yourself, what admirable parts of wit and prudence, what indefatigable diligence and invincible courage, must of necesity have concurred in the person of that man, who, from fo contemptible beginnings (as I observed before) and through so many thousand difficulties, was able not only to make himself the greatest and most abfolute monarch of this nation, but to add to it the entire conquest of Ireland and Scotland (which the whole force of the world, joined with the Roman virtue, could never attain to); and to crown all this with illuttrious and heroical undertakings and succeites upon all our foreign enemies: do but (I say again) consider this, and you will confess, that his prodigious merits were a better title to imperial dignity, than the blood of an hundred royal progenitors; and will rather lament that he lived not to overcome more nations, than envy him the conquest and dominion of these.”
“ Whoever you are, said I (my indignation making me somewhat bolder) your difcourse, methinks, becomes as little the person of a tutelar angel, as Cromwell's actions did that of a protector. It is upon these principles, that all the great crimes of the world have been committed, and most particularly those which I have had the misfortune to fee in my own time, and in my own country. If these be to be allowed, we must break up human society, retire into the woods, and equally there stand upon our
guards against our brethren mankind, and our rebels the wild beasts. For, if there can be no presumption upon the rights of a whole nation, there can be none most certainly upon those of a private person ; and, if the robbers of countries be God's vicegerents, there is no doubt but the thieves and banditos, and murderers, are his under-oficers. It is true which you say, that God is the source and fountain of all power; and it is no less true, that he is the creator of serpents, as well as angels; nor does his goodness fail of its ends, even in the malice of his own creatures. What power he suffers the devil to exercise in this world, is too apparent by our daily experience; and by nothing more than the late monstrous iniquities which you dispute for, and patronize in England : but would you infer from thence, that the power of the devil is a jult and lawful one ; and that all men ought, as well as most men do, obey him? God is the fountain of all powers ; but some fow from the right hand (as it were) of his goodness, and others from the left hand of his justice ; and the world, like an island between these two rivers, is sometimes refreshed and nourished by the one, and sometimes over-run and ruined by the other; and (to continue a little farther the allegory) we are never overwhelmed with the latter, till, either by our malice or negligence, we have stopped and dammed up the former.
But to come a little closer to your argument, or rather the image of an argument, your fimilitude. If Cromwell had come to command in Ireland, in the place of the late Lord Strafford, I fould have yielded obedience, not for the equipage, and the ftrength, and the guards which he brought with him, but for the commission which he should first have thewed me from our common sovereign that sent him; and, if he could have done that from God Almighty, I would have obeyed him too in England ; but that he was so far from being able to do, that, on the contrary, I read nothing but commands, and even public proclamations, from God Almighty, not to admit him.
Your second argument is, that he had the same right for his authority, that is the foundation of all others, even tbe right of conqueft. Are we then fo unhappy as to be conquered by the person whom we hired at a daily rate, like a labourer, to conquer others for us? Did we furnish him with arms, only to draw and try upon our enemies (as we, it seems, faisely thought them) and keep them for ever fheathed in the bowels of his friends? Did we fight for liberty against our prince, that we might become laves to our servant ? This is such an impudent pretence, as neither he nor any of his fatterers for him 'nad ever the face to mention. Though it can hardly be spoken or thought of without paflion, yet I shall, if you please, argue it more calmly than the case deserves.
The right, certainly, of conquest can only be exercised upon those against whom the war is, declared, and the victory obtained. So that no whole nation can be said to be com.quered, but by foreign force. In all civil wars, men are so far from ftating the quarrel against their country, that they do it only against a person, or party, which they really believe, or at lealt pretend, to be pernicious to itį neither can there be any just cause for the destruction of a part of the body, but when it is done for the preservation and safety of the whole. It is our country that arms, our country that pays them, our country that authorizes the undertaking, and by that distinguishes it from rapine and murder; lastly, it is our country that directs and commands the army, and is indeed their general. So that to say, in civil wars, that the prevailing party conquers their country, is to say, the country conquers itself. And, if the general only of that party be the
conqueror, the army, by wiich he is made fo, is no less conquered than the army which is beaten, and have as little reason to triumph in that victory, by which they lofc both their honour and liberty. So that, if Cronwell conquered any party, it was only that against which he was sent; and what that was, mult appear by his commiffon. It was (says that) against a company of evil counsellors, and disaffected persons, who kept the king from a good intelligence and conjunction with his people. It was not then against the people, It is fo far from being so, that even of that party which was beaten, the conquest did not belong to Cromwell, but to the parliament which employed him in their service, or rather indeed to the king and parliament, for whuli crvice (if there